Bryn Mawr College Essay Example by an Accepted Student

 

Bryn Mawr is a top liberal arts college, so it’s important to write strong essays to help your application stand out. In this post, we’ll share an essay a real student has submitted to Bryn Mawr. (Names and identifying information have been changed, but all other details are preserved).

 

Read our Bryn Mawr essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year’s supplemental prompts.

 

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Example

 

Prompt: As you prepare to join a new college community, reflect on your role as a community member throughout the past four years. What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

 

This past December I had the privilege to attend SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference) along with five of my peers. It was an amazing experience but my friends and I quickly realized despite the relative flexibility in our school’s curriculum, there was a gaping hole in our education; across all departments, BIPOC narratives are largely left out, save for a few one term electives. Going to a predominantly white institution (PWI) we all knew this of course, but I personally didn’t truly register how deep the disparity was until I played a Kahoot about Asian American activists with my affinity group, where I realized that though I consider myself to be relatively informed about Asian American history I couldn’t answer a single question. And neither could many of the other students in my group. If I, as a minority student, didn’t even understand my own history in America, how could I expect other students, and especially white students, to also understand the deep rooted effects of race in this country?

 

My friends and I left SDLC itching to take action. In just two days, we whipped up a presentation for administrators and advocated for diversifying the required curriculum as opposed to adding electives. Adding electives only reaches those who are willing and open to learning more; in order to create a shared understanding of our histories, everyone in the classroom needs to be on the same playing field. Knowing the importance of understanding the nuances of cultural and ethnic history and practices, I strongly advocated for the broadening of the freshman Humanities curriculum (a class which explores Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations) to include ancient civilizations often misportrayed or stereotyped, such as Indigenous and South American groups. 

 

In addition I also advocate for the increased education around the college process and Affirmative Action (AA). AA is a touchy subject, but especially within private school spaces such as Peddie, many students, white and even other Asian Americans, misconstrue AA as “racist”, blaming minority students for “stealing their spots”. Having seen this on both social media and in person, I wanted to make sure this was addressed. Our thoughts were well received by faculty and administrators. 

 

Yet, despite the apparent enthusiasm, in consequent follow up emails, I’ve found myself being completely ignored. 

 

It’s frustrating, but I know this is an ongoing process; after all, Rome wasn’t built overnight. Even if I won’t be at Peddie when we finally diversify our curriculum, I will do everything in my power in my last few months at this school to push for it to happen. 

 

 

What the Essay Did Well

 

This student’s response has a number of positive qualities worth pointing out. For starters, they directly and effectively respond to the prompt without resorting to overly-literal signal phrases like “The legacy I want to leave is…” Instead, they tell a compelling story about their experiences advocating for a more diverse Humanities curriculum. The phrasing at the end, “Even if I won’t be at Peddie when we finally diversify our curriculum” clearly indicates their intended legacy without being heavy-handed. 

 

Another strong aspect of this response is how the author sprinkles personal reflections throughout the response as they pertain to the narrative. For instance, they write, “If I, as a minority student, didn’t even understand my own history in America, how could I expect other students, and especially white students, to also understand the deep rooted effects of race in this country?” By including personal insights such as this, the author makes their response more compelling than if they had merely described external events. Personalizing the events they describe is important because it makes the response more intentional; it shows why this particular story is important to the author, what it meant, and how they have come to understand it as a moment of growth.

 

Beyond the fact that the author’s response effectively answers the prompt, and the personal reflections they offer throughout, strong writing makes their response come to life. The author does not waste time with unimportant expository details. They provide the context necessary to understand their story without being overbearing. 

 

What Could Be Improved

 

While this response is strong in many ways, one issue with it is that the conclusion comes very abruptly relative to the flow of the author’s response up until that point. The part of the narrative about the administrator’s ignoring the author’s follow up emails warrants further elaboration, even if just a couple more sentences better explaining the circumstances of the follow up emails or reflecting on this frustrating lack of response. Though the writing is generally strong, the first couple paragraphs are longer and thus good candidates to shorten, so the author can instead better flesh out the resolution of their story. 

 

More Free Essay Resources

 

How to Write Bryn Mawr College Essays: See our in-depth guide of each supplemental essay prompt for Bryn Mawr College. 

 

All of Our Essay Guides: Don’t miss our essay guides for all of the top schools.

 

How to Write the Common App Essays: Learn how to write a strong Common App essay for each of the prompts, with examples.

 

Free CollegeVine Peer Essay Review: Submit your essay and get feedback from another student. Editing other students’ essays will also help you improve your own writing skills!

 

 


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